Spring Hill, Tenn. (WKRN) — Friday morning, General Motors announced a $2.3 billion investment into the Spring Hill area, which will soon become the company’s second electric vehicle battery plant.
The announcement comes just eight days after GM announced overtime cutbacks at plants across America.
“What that means to our state, what that means to the people of our state is that lives will be changed and that our state will become an even stronger leader,” said Governor Bill Lee during the company’s press conference. “We are the leader in the automotive industry in the southeast as it stands, we hope to be the leader in the country.”
The Spring Hill factory is one of just four selected to build electric vehicles in North America. City leaders say the announcement came as an eager opportunity for growth.
“Anytime you can create an opportunity for people to get a good-paying job, that’s just not a job, eight to five, but a career that they can work through for 20 or 30 years, is a great thing,” said Rod Holliman.
Holliman owns Honest 1 Auto Care and is a member of the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce. He sat in his office watching as Governor Lee along with GM announced the new plans, working with LG Solutions to open an electric car battery plant in the area.
“There’s going to have to be a new skill set of people to work on these vehicles, to produce them, to produce batteries to do that, and so it’s a great opportunity for a whole generation of young people, that I think are struggling to find what they want to do,” explained Holliman.
Holliman says the new plant creates an opportunity not only for more people to move to the area, but also prepare young adults who are stepping out into the workforce a place to build a career.
Spring Hill is known for being the “14th fastest growing city in the nation.” Holliman says the city is living up to that name, looking forward to the next 20 years being “exponential.”
The new facility will be built in addition to the 7.9 million square foot manufacturing plant already established.
On Friday, GM released new images of the 2.8 million square foot plans, which are expected to bring in 1,300 new jobs to the area. Many see it as an opportunity for those who have struggled through the pandemic.
“Things are expanding, people need jobs, I need a job. I have a friend that works there, and she says it’s a great idea,” said Sean Unsinger.
Unsinger has lived in Spring Hill for the past two years. He says when he first heard about the new plans, he looked at it as a welcomed opportunity for those in the community to find work
“I think everybody is being pushed south from Nashville and it wouldn’t hurt to have the jobs here instead of up there,” Unsinger said.
With more people projected to travel and live in Spring Hill, some residents like Dolly Phelan worry the city won’t be able to keep up with the upcoming growth and would create city traffic in an area that attracts people for being rural.
“Jobs are great. Spring Hill can’t handle that influx at this time. The infrastructures not prepared for it, the city has not been preparing it. Roads are already jammed, but again, the jobs are great,” explained Phelan.
The Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce says they are already thinking ahead, looking for areas of improvement especially for current and potential families.
“There will be new people coming, but we have to do more in terms of infrastructure. Right now, we have so many kids playing baseball, and football, and soccer, and they don’t have any place to practice. So, we got to do more,” said Holliman.
The plant is scheduled to open in late 2023.